Students in line for the Admission and Records department in the Student Services building. The number of full-time equivalency students has fallen short this semester.(Mickey Romero/Clarion)
Despite an improvement in number of full time resident students enrolled for the fall 2015 semester, Citrus College is not quite meeting its projected enrollment growth targets determined by the state.
According to an enrollment report released on Aug. 25 the college had 37,205 total enrolled students compared to last year’s total 33,720 enrolled resident students after the census report.
Although this is an improvement the goals for projected enrollment unit targets have not been met and this number changes every day.
The targets are set at the beginning of the year for summer, fall, winter and spring to predict exceeding, or decreasing, enrollment rates in comparison to last year’s numbers.
According to Sam Lee, E.d.D., dean of language arts and enrollment, the budget projected a 3 percent growth with a 1.5 percent buffer. “Our whole budget is based on what the State says they will fund us for each year.” Lee said. “We budget everything in the college based on the income we expect to be able to get at the end of the year.”
Resident enrollment is the main contributing factor that the state uses to allocate a budget for colleges and when enrollment targets are not met schools are in danger of spending more money then they will receive from the state.
On Sept. 9, the actual enrollment report numbers will be locked in place for the census that determines if Citrus has met projected goals.
As it stands enrollment is still down by approximately 232 students from the enrollment target prediction.
This loss is coming from the 34811 enrolled state resident students compared to the 35050 enrolled state resident students from 2014-15
Lee has predicted that by the time the census date arrives that Citrus will close the gap but still be behind by approximately 175 students.
In response to the growth target, Citrus has increased core classes during prime time hours, Monday through Thursday from 8:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., to provide more choices and opportunities for students.
“We have a lot more classes for the whole year that we are making available vs. last year, “ said Arvid Spor,Ed.d., vice president of academic affairs. “What we’re trying to do is meet any pent up demand that is out there to address student needs.”
Spor believes the increase in full time enrolled students is due to the fact that they are now able to take more classes that they need compared to last semester.
“If we don’t meet the target requirements we do not receive the amount budgeted to us and we end up overspending,” Lee said.
Lee has added 11 more English 101 sections than last fall semester as well as more math, statistics and speech 101 classes in similar amounts.
“I would have liked to double those numbers,” Lee said.
Citrus enrollment is impacted in its core and prime time classes but is facing weaknesses in non-essential classes.
However, with increased core classes, students should be able to find available times to take these classes and fulfill their general education needs.
In addition to adding more classes Citrus has increased marketing and engages in outreach programs targeted at feeder high schools inside and outside of its district.
It is important to meet enrollment targets to get the full amount of income to match the amount of money spent to accommodate high enrollment projections.
When growth percentages are not met the difference of projected income from the State and actual money spent comes out of the reserves.
According to Lee, Citrus is required to maintain 5 percent of its income in its reserves.
When reserves drop down, spending must be reduced further, which could limit the amount of money that can be put towards increases in enrollment opportunity.
In the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Scorecard, community colleges have been facing a decline in annual full time equivalent students since 2008.
Those numbers began improving around 2013 and the state budget has predicted growth.
“The [Scorecard] would list declining enrollment back in 2008 because that was the start of the Great Recession which led to reduced funding to colleges,” Spor said via email.”This meant fewer course offerings to community college, CSU, and UC students until the passage of proposition 30 two years ago which stabilized our funding, as the economy improved tax receipts increased which lead to more funding to colleges and the addition of classes and increased enrollments.”
Even at local schools such as Mt. San Antonio College enrollment numbers are running about the same as 2014-15, according to George Bradshaw, Ed.D, dean of enrollment management at Mt.SAC.
“There is a lot of fluctuation between the first day and census day,” Bradshaw said. “So it’s difficult to tell.”
Although these numbers are projections, Lee reiterated that these numbers could reflect actual decreases a year from now.
Lee hopes that fall semester’s numbers will not continue the shortcomings that revealed themselves during the summer semester.
By Aug. 28, Lee believes it will be more clear whether or not the projected target numbers are correct in predicting decreases in student enrollment as opposed to growth.
As of now there are still 9 days before the census number lockdown.
Classes still available to be filled can be found on the Citrus website under the Class Schedule for fall 2015 link.
There you can find a live schedule available 24/7 that will provide fall courses still available for enrollment.
Update 8/26 :
- Dr.Sam Lee and Dr. Arvid Spor, Ph.D. corrected to E.d.D
- 2014-2015 total enrolled resident students corrected to 33,720 from 37,385
- According to Spor, “The growth target is higher than the actual amount that the state is offering in growth funding, so we could actually come in under target and still receive full funding from the state.”
- According to Spor, The Chancellor’s Office Scorecard would list declining enrollment back in 2008 because that was the start of the Great Recession which led to reduced funding to colleges. The reduced funding meant fewer course offerings to community college, CSU, and UC students until the passage of proposition 30 two years ago which stabilized our funding. As the economy improved tax receipts increased which lead to more funding to colleges and the addition of classes and increased enrollments.